Over the years, I have written extensively about, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and their Rolex watches. Today, I am really excited to share many new images with you that help put together more pieces of the Fidel Castro and Che Guevara Rolex collection puzzle, and at the same time, I decided to consolidate all Fidel Castro and Che Guevara content into this one story on Jake's Rolex World.
We begin by examining this all-new, stunningly high-resolution image of Fidel Castro. This photo is arguably "The OG G-Money shot" of Fidel Castro. On Jake's Rolex World, we are so used to seeing lower resolution historical photos, that when you see something this high-resolution it almost looks like CGI, but it is real. This image is also significant, because as we put together the pieces of the Fidel Castro Rolex puzzle, we learn more about which Rolex watches he wore and when.
In the past I have published many images of Fidel Castro wearing his Rolex GMT-Master Reference 6542 with no crown guard, but in this image Fidel is clearly wearing a Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675 with crown guards. It also has an all-black bezel insert.
Castro Took Cuba While Wearing His Rolex
Fidel Castro wore a sport Rolex Submariner when he overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista during the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
In this first image from the LIFE Magazine archives we see Fidel Castro standing on the balcony of the Hilton Hotel with friends after his triumphant entry into the Havana, Cuba.
In both the images you clearly see Castro wearing his Rolex and if you click on the images you can see more detail. In this next photos of Castro, also taken in 1959 in Cienfuegos, Cuba you see Castro being cheered by crowds on his victorious march to Havana after successfully ousting Batista. One unanswered question, is what Rolex sport model was Castro wearing when he took Cuba? I have spent much time evaluating this image, and it appears to be a Rolex Submariner, but it could also be a GMT-Master.
Stainless Steel Rolex GMT Master
In the images below, we see Fidel Castro wearing a no-crown guard Rolex GMT-Master Reference 6542. This first image was taken in 1964, and we clearly see Fidel is wearing a "COKE" GMT-Master.
When Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959 in Cuba, Rolex had some kind of headquarters in Cuba. You see "Habana" on many magazine ads prior to 1959. It is not clear what kind of presence Rolex had in Cuba before Castro overthrew Batista? It could have been anything between having an AD, to having their South American headquarters. It has been suggested, Castro looted Rolex headquarters and confiscated all the Rolex watches, but I have never seen any direct proof of this.
Communism for the masses. Capitalism for the bosses.
I kid around and say "Communism for the masses and capitalism for the bosses" but it makes sense that in 1959 and through the 1960s that Fidel Castro and Che Guevara wore their Rolex watches as sturdy tool watches, because they were precise timing instruments. Remember this was before quartz watches. Also, in the early 1960s Rolex watches were not nearly as much of a status symbol or "Luxury Watch" as they are today.
"I'm the one who is going to tell you how it is going to be!!!"
Below, is an interesting photo of Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway, meeting with Fidel Castro in Cuba. Hemingway lived in and had a home in Cuba from the 1930s to 1959.
Rolex Watch Fanatic
Is Fidel Castro more of a Rolex Fanatic than you? He must be, unless you also regularly wear a Rolex Day-Date and a Rolex Submariner on the same wrist at the same time...
But my obvious question is, why wouldn't he just wear a GMT Master since it can keep time in two places? Maybe he was keeping time in 3 places!?! Maybe the dude is just confused!?!
Castro Rockin' Rolexes in The Kremlin
When I first noticed the fact Fidel Castro was regularly wearing two Rolex watches on his left wrist, I wondered why he would do such a thing? I think it was symbolic, because he wanted everybody to know he was keeping local time as well as the time at the Kremlin, in Moscow. In the photos below, we see Castro meeting with Nikita Khruschev at the Kremlin. By the way, that is Karl Marx's portrait hanging on the wall, who was also a bearded fellow...It's kind of ironic Castro is smoking a Cuban Cigar and wearing two Rolex watches in the Kremlin while he chats with Khruschev, in front of a Karl Marx picture. The non-verbal body language in this photo is absolutely fascinating! Notice everybody in the room is staring at Castro's cigar, and that everybody sitting is smiling with their hands folded in front of them on the table, and the three guys standing below the portrait of Marx, have their arms behind their backs.
A Communist President
Rolex: The International Mark Of Success
Communist President sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? I imagine that the supreme irony is that Rolex also becameThe International Mark Of Successin the Communist world as well!!! For instance, the father of the Chinese Communist RevolutionMoa Zedongwore yellow gold Rolex watches!!! So did fellow Cuban revolutionaryChe Guivara, and even Russian PresidentBoris Yeltsin.
It appears that Fidel Casto is wearing a Rolex Datejust on a President bracelet in the photo below. I don't recall ever seeing this combo before, but I can't see the day wheel?
Smoking Cuban takes on a whole new meaning with this next image. What a life!!! Hanging out as the King of Cuba, smoking the best Cuban cigars, having a harem of Rolex watches. Does not get much better than that. Communism for the masses, Capitalism for the Bosses. Viva La revolución!!!
Fidel Castro Documentaries
These two full-length documentaries offer a superb overview of the history of Fidel Castro, and the Cuban revolution.
Che Guevara & Fidel Castro
Revolutionary Brothers In Arms
Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were fellow revolutionaries and long-time friends. After the Cuban revolution Che became the economic controller of Cuba before he wandered off to Bolivia. The photo below is the earliest known of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara together, and neither of them have what would later become their trademark beards. Fidel Castro was a lawyer, and Che Guevara was a doctor.
I am not certain what is going on with this Rolex Watch? I am pretty sure it is a stainless steel Rolex Daytona, with a dial from a white gold Daytona along with white gold solid end links? What a great looking watch!!!
Ty Albert Rulli has been working a a fascinating trilogy of books that explore Art Deco watches with a focus on American watches. His fascinating project is on Kickstarter, so be sure to watch the video below and check it out!!!
I figured since it is Valentine's Day, I would publish this interesting email I recently received from Michael in Paris, France who sent in this great photo and said:
"Hello Jake. Congrats on Jake's Rolex World Blog, which I read every day. Here is a picture of my wife's Rolex GMT 1675, featuring a gorgeous pink/purple insert. I just love this color and it perfectly fits a woman's wrist.
All the best,
Just in case you are not familiar with what is going on, Michael's wife's Rolex GMT pictured above began its life as a Pepsi GMT, meaning its bezel insert was originally a deep red and a navy/cobalt blue, but over the decades it faded/oxidized into a fuschia/pink with purple as seen above. Not all Pepsi bezel inserts fade this way. So what originally was seen as a defect in color shifting, has not become an appealing vintage patina that is sought out by women.
If Apple revolutionizes the wrist-watch, like they did with the iPhone, and tablet form-factors, what effect would this have on Rolex? It's hard to tell, but it looks like Apple may be working on delivering on the promise of a Dick-Tracy-like phone watch! The artist rendition below of what an Apple smartwatch might look like was created by Yrving Torrealba.
I am fascinated with the technical aspects of such a smartwatch. In particular, such a smartwatch would really kind of pick-up where quartz technology left off. Ironically, all the new Rolex watches now keep time almost as well as quartz watches, and it is a further irony that Rolex used to make quartz watches, but no longer does.
...Rolex Hotness... Judy Landers Yellow Gold Lady Date
Judy Landers was a really successful actress in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She appeared on episodes of The Love Boat, Happy Days, Charlie's Angels, Vega$, Night Court, The A-Team and The Fall Guy.
In the photo above from a magazine taken in 1983, we see Judy Landers wearing her yellow gold Rolex Lady Date, and in a recent photo below (33 years later) we see here still wearing her Rolex, and it still looks great! Talk about timeless femininity...
In this photo we see Steve McQueen at Sebring in 1970 wearing his trademark Rolex Submariner (Reference 5512). Of course, Steve McQueen is the King Of Cool, and I included a video interview of Steve McQueen at Sebring in 1970 talking about how he was racing with his broken foot!!!
"I'm not sure whether I'm an actor who races or a racer who acts."
Notice in the photo below, that Steve McQueen is wearing his Rolex Submariner while racing during the 1970 Sebring race!!!
Steve McQueen's Secret Karate Career
Bruce Lee & Chuck Norris
"Those who are skilled in producing surprises will win."
–Sun Tzu, The Art Of War 500BC
Steve McQueen was an accomplished martial artist, but he kept it low key, and often denied it in interviews. Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee were close friends and Bruce Lee taught Steve McQueen, Jeet Kune Do which is a hybrid martial arts system and life philosophy founded by Bruce Lee in 1967.
Chuck Norris with Bruce Lee Pictured Above
Fascinating Bruce Lee Interview
Be Like Water!
Chuck Norris was also a personal Karate instructor of Steve McQueen, and apparently, Steve McQueen earned a third degree black belt, but never tested for it because he did not want anybody to sue him and use it against him. Steve McQueen is pictured below with Chuck Norris, in a very rare photo taken in front of Chuck Norris' Karate Studio in the early 1970s, and Steve McQueen appears to be checking out a Karate magazine.
Steve McQueen encouraged, both of his martial arts teachers, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris to pursue acting careers.
Bruce Lee said when he first met Steve McQueen "When I first saw him, I couldn't understand the guy. Steve was so suspicious of me and it took quite a while before I got to know him. But once he accepted me as a friend, we became real close."
Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee are pictured below, and they are certainly two of the coolest guys that ever lived. Bruce Lee once referred to himself as "The Oriental Steve McQueen."
Steve McQueen said "I'm not an expert or anything like that. I'm not involved in the martial arts to any degree. Bruce was just a very old personal friend of mine and I cared for him a lot. I thought he was a brilliant, fine philosopher about everyday living. He had good standards, and I have great respect for that."
This footage from "Way Of The Dragon" is mesmerizing and it shows how amazing of an athlete Bruce Lee was!!! Turn the volume way up!!!!!
Bruce Lee had many famous actors and athletes as students, including basketball legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bruce Lee had this amazing fight screen in "Game Of Death" which was filmed in 1973 just before he passed away. Game Of Death was not released until 1978, at which time it became an enormous success despite the campy 1970s Charlie's Angels soundtrack.
The world was shocked when Bruce Lee died. Steve McQueen was a lead pallbearer along with James Coburn at Bruce Lee's funeral which took place on July 31, 1973 on Capital Hill. Bruce Lee was only 33 years old when he stepped back into eternity. 7 years later, Steve McQueen at only 50 yeas of age, also stepped back into eternity. I don't know if it is true that only the good die young, but it would have been nice to see them both with grey hair.
"If you love life, don't waste time, because time is what life is made of." –Bruce Lee
Historically Rolex has always been extremely secretive and discreet, and no journalists in the past have ever been invited "INSIDE ROLEX" to explore and report on all four Rolex Manufacturing faclities in Switzerland.
In November 2013, this changed when Rolex invited Jake to take an unprecdented journey into the heart of Rolex to learn and report on everything he witnessed and learned.
This Super-Detailed 3 Part Story is a "MUST READ" story for anybody who wants to understand what really makes Rolex tick.
The Hans Wilsdorf Story: Founder Of Rolex
Rolex is one of the most recognizable brands on earth, but very little has been known about its real history. If you really, really want to understand what makes Rolex tick, I very highly recommend you read the fascinating story of Rolex's amazing founder–Hans Wilsdorf.
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